Crop diversity of vegetable species is threatened by the current homogenization of agricultural production systems due to specialization of plant breeders and increasing globalization in the seed sector. With the onset of modern agriculture, most traditional vegetable cultivars were replaced by highly productive and often genetically uniform commercial breeds and hybrids. This led to the loss of landraces, especially in countries with a super-intensive agriculture. The agricultural biodiversity erosion represents a huge risk for food safety and security. Vegetable landraces are associated with the cultural heritage of their place of origin being adapted to local agro-ecological areas and are more resilient to environmental stress than commercial cultivars. The chapter aim to highlight the importance of keeping and using vegetable landraces as valuable sources of genes for traditional farmers, but also for future breeding processes. We analyze the historical role of landraces, genetic diversity, high physiological adaptability to specific local conditions in association with traditional farming systems, as well as the breeding perspectives and evaluation of genetic diversity based on molecular markers.
Part of the book: Landraces